The four black columns stretch to the sky, each representing the major branches of the Armed Forces – Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. This year, 12 names will be added to the columns of the West Valley Veterans’ Memorial during the annual Grand Ronde Memorial Day observance.
The annual observance will be May 26 at 1 p.m. on the Grand Ronde Tribal campus, off Grand Ronde Road between highways 18 and 22, west of Spirit Mountain Casino. The memorial was created by tribal elder and Vietnam-era Marine Corps veteran Steve Bobb Sr. The columns are etched with Native and non-Native names from the West Valley area who have served in the military as a reminder of the sacrifice all made to their country.
The addition of the 12 new names brings the total number of names to 2,278.
Prior to the ceremony, a community meal featuring ceremonial meat will be held at noon at the nearby Tribal Community Center. Bobb, who is also the chairman of the Tribal Veterans Special Event Board, will be the master of ceremonies and provide the invocation.
Ceremonial events will include the Grand Ronde drummers performing a memorial song, tribal member Jolanda Catabay singing the national anthem, and the Grand Ronde Royalty performing “The Lord’s Prayer.”
Speakers will include Tribal Council Chairman Reyn Leno, a Vietnam-ear Marine Corps veteran; Oregon Veterans’ Services Administrator Eric Belt and Gunny Brandon, a Marine Corps veteran.
The names to be added to the memorial are:
Army: Kerrina Grout Frenney, tribal member; Nathaniel Lane, tribal member; Lee Roy Smith and Randy Hoff
Marine Corps: Maxwell Hale, tribal member; Ernest Keener and Richard Van Atta
Air Force: Jack Stevens
Navy: Gary Leuthauser, tribal member; David Risseeuw, Isaac Risseeuw and Len Malmquist